Gratitude

The one wise choice that I made in my life was to always attach myself to great mentors, and to draw from their wisdom. The wisest of all my mentors is my father-in-law who has been my primary mentor for the past 22 years and whose wisdom is to be found in much of what I write. One of his principles is that if a person has drunk from a well it is inherently immoral for them to afterwards throw sticks into it. In my many discussions with teachers at this time of the year, I hear a litany of stories about people whose children attend a particular school and for whom the school did many kindnesses in attempting to accommodated an often demanding pupil or parent to the best of their ability. When for whatever reason, the parents choose to move their children to another school; they don’t leave quietly and graciously. Rather they seem to feel the need to run the school down and encourage others to leave in order to justify their choice. The same principle applies to people in companies who leave and upon doing so, tell their co-workers, how bad the present company is and how much better the new company is, encouraging the co-workers to leave as well. We see the same phenomenon when people emigrate and feel the need to justify their choice by running down their country of origin.

This approach burns bridges often making it difficult for people to return to the original place after they discover that the grass is only greener on the other side because underneath it is a septic tank, about which they were not informed. It seems remarkable that people feel the need to cause hurt and insult to people they longer need. Their feedback achieves nothing constructive and only causes pain and diminishment of the other. This is especially painful for people who did kindness for the person now stabbing them in the back. The same thing happens at the end of the marriage or love relationship. It is as if people believe that they will not be able to move on, until they have destroyed the person or institution to which they were previously attached. In reality, the opposite is true. We are only really able to move on, to make peace with where we have come from when we are able to honour and show gratitude to the people who have served us contributed to our well-being and growth and enhanced our lives. This is so even if in our estimation they served us in only small ways, and did not meet all of our expectations. The only real closure is honourable closure.

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